WHARC/IMCHA PROJECT ON INCREASING WOMEN’S ACCESS TO SKILLED PREGNANCY CARE IN RURAL NIGERIA
The Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC) in collaboration with funding partners from the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) Initiative - a partnership of Global Africa Affairs Canada (GAC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) organised a 2 – day capacity building workshop on the “Use of Social Media for knowledge Translation” that held on 26th -27th July, 2018. The capacity building workshop was held at the Dr Natalia Kanem auditorium, Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, Benin City.
The objectives of the workshop were to:
- build the capacity of critical stakeholders, knowledge translation committee members, members of Ward Development Committees (WDC) and WHARC/project staff on development of messaging and use of the social media for the knowledge transfer component of the Skilled pregnancy care project;
- increase the skills of the participants on use of various social media platforms and ensure their systematic and effective use of these platforms for transferring critical knowledge and information on project outcomes; and
- share information on use of KT and social media platform by other IMCHA projects and seek partnerships for collaborative reporting of the IMCHA projects across the West and East African regions.
The workshop was well attended by a total of fifty –three (53) participants. On the first day of the workshop, a total of forty - six (46) attendees participated, and on the second day of the workshop, a total of forty (40) attendees participated. Stakeholders at the workshop included: Representatives from the Edo State Ministry of Health, Representative from Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Representative from West African Health Organization (WAHO), Senior Program Specialist from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, Co-principal Investigator on the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA), IMCHA Team Ibadan, Ward Development Committee Chairman, Secretaries, women leader, Nurses and Doctor from the project sites: Okpekpe and Ebelle communities in Etsako East Local Government Area & Ewatto in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State.
KT Workshop Activites:
- An overview of the WHARC/IMCHA project and progress report so far.
The Program Advisor and Project Principal Investigator (PI), Professor F.E. Okonofua presented an overview of the IMCHA project and progress report of the project. In his presentation, he mentioned that the Nigeria government is keen on strengthening of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCS) - the major entry point to healthcare in Nigeria - as a strategy for total health coverage for all. He also mentioned that the project aims to make maternal healthcare accessible and available to most-at-risk women and answer research questions on the demand and supply factors for the use and non-use of PHCs; compliance of PHCs to standard maternal healthcare services and deliveries. He discussed comprehensively the project methodologies and formative research findings including identified barriers to utilizing PHCs in the project sites in Etsako East Local Government Area and Esan South East Local Government Area. The identified barriers are: lack of adequate skilled maternal healthcare personnel and manpower, lack of drugs in the PHCs, High service charge, Poor attitude of healthcare providers towards clients, poverty and long distances of the PHCs. Hence, in an effort to address these barriers to accessing maternal healthcare in PHCs by rural women in the project communities, the following interventions have been formulated for the Project and implementations are on-going, these interventions include:
- Advocacy visit to key stakeholders in government for more skilled workers and manpower, and increase funding allocation to PHCs
- Intervention of Rapid SMS system to reduce delay and increase access to PHCs via mobile cell technology
- Introduction of community-based Health Insurance Scheme for affordability and community sustainability of PHCs services.
- A Transport System involving motor bikes and taxi network which will aid to convey pregnant women in distress and during emergencies to PHCs and referral hospitals in the two intervening communities (Okpekpe and Ewatto).
- A Drug Revolving Fund to ensure continuous supply, availability and affordability of drugs in the PHCs
- Supply of maternal healthcare deliverables: The PHCs were equipped with beds, beddings, essential drugs and mama kits (a handy kit containing essential materials for delivering babies).
- Community Health Education on Pregnancy care.
He concluded by saying that the commitment towards the project from key stakeholders: Chiefs, kings and the government are very high and the implementation has a very high success rate.
- Knowledge Translation: An overview and its relevance in implementation research
The lecture on Knowledge Translation: An Overview and its relevance in implementation research was delivered by CIPT. Ebenezer Olajuyigbe, ICT director, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State. In his presentation he defined knowledge translation (KT) as moving research from the laboratory, academics journals and conferences into the hands of the people and organizations for practical use. He emphasized the importance of KT as it helps in reporting research findings as well as disseminate and implement effective policies, practice and program. He stated that KT is a model for linking research into action and in evaluating KT, feasibility consideration of both human and financial resources is necessary in addition to appropriate engagement with research users.
- Social Media and its use for social change – Crafting the messages: An overview
This lecture was also delivered by CITP. Ebenezer.O. Olajuyigbe, Director ICT, UNIMED. In his lecture, he defined social change as an alteration in the social order of the society. He also defined social media as an umbrella term for web/mobile technologies that empowers us to create, share, learn, connect, interact and collaborate with people of common interest. Examples of social media included Facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, google+, Flickr, Linkedin, pinterest and whatsApp.
He highlighted some criticisms of use of social media, they are: Invasion of user’s privacy, Confidentiality of information, imposters of Authority and Quality of information, Information Overload and Time Consuming. The use of social media has the advantages of wider audience; cost effectiveness; real time information sharing and ability to measure one’s success in the social media space.
- Writing of Policy Briefs and Fact sheets
The lecture on the Writing of Policy Briefs and Fact sheets was delivered by Professor Friday Okonofua. He defined policy brief as a short document that present findings and recommendation of a research project to a non-specialised audience while factsheets are a one-page document that provides basic information on a specific issue in an easy quick to remember format. He also identified research communication barriers as:
- The use of jargon which does not correspond to policy environment
- Scientific research not relevant to policy
- Lack of dissemination of research findings
- Low scientific understanding by policymakers
However, he described the features of a policy brief as a stand –alone document on a single topic/issue and a short write up usually not more than 1500 words. He also stated that a good policy brief should:
- Focus on a single topic
- Define your purpose
- Identify salient points that support the objectives of the policy brief
- Distill the points
- Be brief and specific
For an effective policy brief, the four (4) Cs must be put into consideration which are Comprehension, Connection, Credibility and Contagiousness. He emphasised that “less is more” when writing a policy brief and policy brief is better written with evidence and credible information. A provided a template for writing policy brief - an executive summary, an introduction, approach, implication and recommendation, and a conclusion statement.
- Developing media briefs and infographics
Mr. Solomon Ojigbo, WHARC ICT consultant delivered the lecture on developing a media briefs and infographics.
He started by defining media briefs as powerful tools for communicating research findings to policy actors (healthcare practitioners, administrators, policy makers) as well as the general public. He emphasised that an effective media brief must meet the following criteria: target specific, limited to a particular problem, professional, evidence based, concise, understandable, accessible, promotional and attractive, practical and feasible.
Similarly, he defined infographics as visual representations of information or data intended to present information quickly and clearly. He also mentioned the tools for making infographs some of which include Visme, PiktoChart.com, Canva.com, infogram, PowerPoint among others. He concluded his lecture on the importance of infographs and its importance of making reading enjoyable.
- WHARC websites
This session was presented by Mr Izehi Stephen Oriakhi, WHARC ICT Officer. He started his lecture with the history of World Wide Web (www) invented in 1989 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He also gave an overview of WHARC websites, the websites are: www.ajrh.info, an arm of WHARC involved in reproductive health publications; and www.wharc-online.org which is WHARC’s main website that houses current information of all projects and other activities.
He gave a statistical report on the activities of the website, his report showed an increase in audience access and download of the African Journal of Reproductive Health’s abstract and articles in the last few months. “In the month of May 2018 alone, 7,530 articles were downloaded from the www.ajrh.info website from 130 countries”, with the majority of 2164 downloads from Nigeria, 826 article downloads from the USA, etc; Source: (http://www.ajol.info/stats/acb0c9c28d8006a82ea76e38167f291d3265f185). He added that the organization is harnessing efforts to further increase audience reach and readership, and improve quality of information. He encouraged participants to always visit the organization’s website for latest news and more information on IMCHA project.
- Elements of Research Dissemination: Using twitter for research dissemination
Dr Ermel Johnson (see image) from WAHO made presentation on the elements of Research Dissemination: Using twitter for research dissemination. He defined twitter as an online microblogging service that allows its users to post short messages on personalized profile. It is accessed for free in 34 languages and available on mobile devices. He compared twitter and Facebook and thereafter engaged participant on opening a twitter account and how to tweet.
- Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram as medium of research communication
The third lecture was delivered by Mr Solomon Ojigbo on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram as medium of research communication. However, he mentioned why Facebook matters in research communication is because it is the biggest of all social network and has become a life style to millions of people. He added that this is because it has the ability to target one’s audience and its high speed of information dissemination.
However, Instagram is a social networking services that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters and share across other social media while LinkedIn is a professional social media, a goldmine to find professionals of similar interest.
He concluded his lecture by emphasising that visibility of contents can be increased through promotions of targeted adverts on the aforementioned platforms.
The 2day workshop was able to achieve a major milestone in terms of addressing its set objectives. The workshop created a forum for participants to get hands on experience on the use of the social media; participants had opportunity to build network and have a cross cultural knowledge exchange. Critical stakeholders, members of Ward Development Committees (WDC) and WHARC/project staff’s capacities were built on the development of messaging, sharing of information and use of the social media for the knowledge transfer component of the Skilled pregnancy care project; Furthermore, there was an increase in the skills of the participants on use of various social media platforms and also on the systematic and effective use of these platforms for transferring critical knowledge and information on IMCHA project and research dissemination outcomes.
Skilled gained and perspectives
At the KT workshop, participants were meaningfully engaged in robust discussions and practical group sessions where they garnered some basic knowledge and skills for the productive dissemination of research findings and information using the various social media platforms. Part of the skilled gained by participants was on how to identify your target audience using the various social media platforms which included twitter, facebook and linkedin e.t.c., craft the appropriate content, how to communicate your research findings and information to the final end users (policy makers, general public etc.) of the information.
Another key skill learnt by participants that will be used in translating knowledge and engaging policy maker was the writing of policy brief. There was a hands-on experience and a practical demonstration, presentation by participants on the writing of policy brief. Constructive criticisms were made by the panel which included Prof. Friday Okonofua, Dr. Nafissatou Diop and Prof. Sanni Yaya.
Participants did a pre-test and post-test to evaluate their knowledge on the subject matters and perspectives before the workshop and after the workshop. There was a knowledge gain after the training as participants were able to open a social media account, use the Ashtag created for the workshop (#SocialMediaforKT) on the various social media platform appropriately to craft messages, share tweets and even do live posting of the event.
The event was aired on the Nigeria Television Authority TV station to reach a wider audience who were not present at the meeting and also were not social media compliant too. In addition, workshop instructional materials or resource were afterword sent to participants and are available on our website for download.
Below is the summary of the tweets of participants, live streaming activities and statistics of people who followed at the workshop:
Picture depicting a statistic of the KT workshop activities on WHARC facebook page